Coach Rob Dunn Says the New 100 mm Wheels Appear to Work Just Fine Indoors
One of the side stories of the Motor City Madness Thanksgiving invitational in Canton, Michigan, was the appearance of Big Wheels in the indoor world.
"We had some skaters who were pretty successful on them," said Robb Dunn, coach of the Wolverines inline speed skating team, which sponsored the three-day meet. "They definitely opened up some eyes."
A few of the competitors wore skates with four 100 mm wheels; a few others wore skates with four or five 90 mm wheels.
The top finisher in the men's senior division, Christopher Creveling of the Frenchtown Speed team, raced on 100 mm wheels.
"He looked plenty good in them -- and he won," Dunn said. "But that's not to say he wouldn't have won anyway. He's a very good skater. I was watching to see if he was comfortable, and if he could get up and go in them, and he seemed to be able to."
Another winner on 100 mm wheels was Jim Larson of Hyper. He won in the master's two man relay skating on what should be called Jolly Green Giants, a new line of over-sized Hyper wheels coated with a grippy, green substance.
So are Big Wheels here to stay?
"I wouldn't want to say that for sure right now," Dunn said. "But they definitely seem to work on the indoor surface."
However, indoor racers may need some time to adjust to the bigger wheels. Dunn said it's harder to get the big wheels to tip over on their edges, where they spend much of their time as racers swoop around the small indoor ovals. "And when they do tip, they tip faster," which can land a skater on the floor.
It was the first year for the Motor City Madness invitational. "We got a lot of compliments," Dunn said. "So we are pretty happy with it. We think it's really going to grow in the next couple years."
Copyright © 2006 by Robert Burnson